Faculty Handbook 2017-2018

I.7. External Evaluation and Assessment Issues

Course Syllabi

    Chairs should make sure that all the faculty teaching courses in the department or program have course syllabi available for students.  Although Hendrix does not have a required format or content, the chair should advise the faculty to include grading policies, attendance policies (which should be compatible with the attendance policy in the Catalog), course learning goals, office hours, academic integrity guidelines for the class, and the statement provided by Academic Support Services on accommodations for disability.  
    Chairs should maintain a collection of recent course syllabi used in the department or program.

Annual Assessment Reports and Planning

Department and program chairs should complete an annual assessment form at the end of each academic year.  Introduced in 2004-2005, the form emphasizes how departments and programs can follow the following basic assessment cycle.  The following items are covered in the form:     

•    Articulate learning goals [objectives, outcomes]
•    Gather information about how well students are achieving the goals and why
•    Use the information for improvement

This form queries the chair about the department or program’s Student Assessment Plan (SAP).  Chairs are asked if the SAP is up-to-date and available to students, if learning goals appear in the department or program’s syllabi, and if the department collects at least one indirect and one direct piece of student data.  Chairs are asked if an assessment audit has been completed for their majors and minors and what has been learned in the department or program’s assessment meetings.  Finally chairs are asked to define one action item for the following year.  

These completed forms, along with the department or program’s Student Assessment Plan are made available online in Faculty Resources web pages showing each department and program’s progress since 2004-2005.  The Associate Provost and the Academic Assessment Committee monitors and evaluates these assessment activities and reports back to the department or program chair as well as to the Committee on Faculty, which uses the information in their decision-making concerning faculty lines and departmental budgets.  

Periodic External Program and Assessment Plan Review

    Each department and program conducts a self-evaluation and external review once every 7-10 years.  The Committee on Faculty evaluates each external evaluation thoroughly and uses the information in their decision-making concerning faculty lines and departmental budgets.  One major emphasis of the cycle of reviews should be the evaluation and revision of the student learning assessment plan to assure that the annual process is useful and manageable.  For those programs that have not participated in a previous self-evaluation, a major emphasis should be the development of an annual plan for assessing student learning.  Chairs should also note that the College’s Statement of Purpose may have been revised after your previous self-evaluation.  The North Central accreditation criteria have recently been revised and attention should be given to the third and fourth guidelines that speak specifically to departments and programs.

As described in the Faculty Handbook assessment policy statement, the review process has the following three components:
•    The self-evaluation narrative,
•    The consultant’s visit and report,
•    The department or program response to the consultant’s report.

Self-evaluation Narrative

The initial self-evaluation narrative should describe the following:
•    The character of the discipline and the place of its content and methodology in liberal arts study;  
•    The character of the department and its approach to the presentation of the discipline at Hendrix;  
•    The aims of the department for the general student and the major;   
•    Offerings and the typical path or paths of study for the general student and the major, and the connection between departmental aims and offerings;  
•    Typical teaching and learning activities in and out of the classroom, and the connection between departmental aims and these activities;
•    The connection between the program, and the mission of the College with respect to liberal learning;  
•    A commentary on the role of the department in implementing the Aims of Hendrix College;
•    The outcomes of the program, together with supporting documentation specifying the methods used to reach conclusions about these outcomes;
•    A description of and commentary on the human, budgetary, and other resources available to the department;
•    The results of the department's self-evaluation and the plans for addressing problems or needs that have been identified.

A subsequent self-evaluation narrative should describe the following:
•    Updated information from the previous self-evaluation narrative highlighting any changes in the goals, character, approach, staffing, funding, and offerings of the department or program.
•    Discussion of the resolution or continuance of any issues raised in the previous evaluation.
•    Evaluation of and recommended revisions to the student learning assessment plan including plans for integrating assessment into the planning process.


The selection of the consultant is a crucial part of the evaluation process and chairs are urged to confer with all members of the department or program.  Final selection should be made in consultation with the appropriate Area Chair, the Associate Provost and the Provost.  You should submit names and vitae to the Associate Provost and receive approval before inviting the consultant to participate.  

In addition to expertise relative to your discipline or program, you should consider the following qualifications:

•    Experience with annual plans for assessing student learning;
•    Extensive experience as a faculty member in a small, undergraduate liberal arts environment;
•    Recent experience with the North Central or Southern re-accreditation process;
•    Experience with experiential learning in the discipline;
•    Previous experience as a consultant.

Once you have approval, the chair should invite the consultant to participate.  Your email or telephone conversation should include the following items:

•    The qualifications
•    The schedule (receive information, 1.5/2 day visit, report due)
•    The pay ($750 stipend plus reasonable expenses—expenses are reimbursed as we get them and the stipend is paid after receipt of the final report)
•    Requests for information required to pay the stipend, including the consultant’s social security number and a mailing address.

In preparation for the visit, the following items should be collected and sent to the consultant:

•    Self-evaluation narrative
•    Annual plan for assessing student learning and annual assessment reports
•    Hendrix Catalog web address
•    Guide to Academic Planning web address
•    Odyssey Program Guide web address (also available as a pdf download)
•    Admission viewbook
•    Curriculum vitae of personnel
•    Recent enrollment data
•    Course syllabi
•    Other data collected for assessing student learning

The consultant should spend 1 ½ to 2 days on campus.  A typical schedule for the visit is attached.  Please plan as far in the future as you can since the visit includes your department, the Committee on Faculty, the Provost, and, if possible, the President.  The consultant’s vita and the visit schedule should be sent to faculty and administration participating in the visit.   The consultant should be prepared for a concluding meeting during which a preliminary summary of the visit should be given.  A formal written report to the chair and Associate Provost should be received within two or three weeks of the visit.  

The consultant is paid a $750 stipend and travel expenses are reimbursed.  The stipend is not paid until the report has been received by Academic Affairs.  The chair should monitor travel expenses so that the total expenses (including meals during the visit) stay within an additional $750.  The chair needs the consultant’s mailing address and social security number in advance before any payments can be made.  The appropriate area or building administrative assistant should help develop the schedule and the Assistant to the Provosts can help with reimbursements and stipend payment.


Once the consultant’s report has been received, the department or program should write a formal response to the report.  That report should be completed before the end of the semester when the report was received.
Once the department’s response has been written, the original narrative, the consultant’s report, the response, and any changes in the assessment plan should be sent to the Associate Provost. The materials are added to the assessment files in Academic Affairs.

Typical Schedule for Consultant’s Visit

 First Day
 Arrive Little Rock airport, met by department chair
 Dinner with department and lodging at Conway motel
 Second Day
 Breakfast with department chair
 8:30-9:30 Meeting with academic deans
 Academic Affairs conference room, Fausett Hall Suite 202
 9:30-12:00 Individual meetings with department faculty
 Faculty members' offices
 12:00-1:30 Lunch with department majors and minors
 Private dining room, Student Life and Technology Center
 1:30-2:30 Tour of campus and facilities
 2:30-4:00 Individual meetings with faculty in department and allied programs
 Faculty members' offices
 4:00-5:00 Meeting with Committee on Faculty
 Academic Affairs conference room, Fausett Hall Suite 202
 6:00 Dinner with department
 Third day
 7:30 Breakfast with department chair
 8:30-9:30 Meeting with Director of Library
 Bailey Library
 9:30-10:00 Meeting with the President (not required if President is traveling)
 President's Office, Fausett third floor
 10:00-11:00 Concluding session with department, area chair, and academic deans
 Third floor conference room, Fausett Hall
 11:30 Lunch with department chair, leave campus for Little Rock airport


  1. Send consultant HR's W-9 form in advance of the trip
  2. Send schedule with consultant’s c.v. to all who are meeting with the consultant.
  3. Make sure someone is assigned to take the consultant from each meeting to the next.
  4. Arrange for purchase order for direct billing from the motel.
  5. Get receipts for travel expenses and social security number from consultant before departure.